Like its fellow countries in the north of Central America, El Salvador and Guatemala, Honduras suffers from high crime rates and severe poverty in the wake of civil wars in the 1980s. Street gangs roam unchecked in many urban neighbourhoods while drug traffickers ply the coasts and plague all levels of the state. A contested presidential election in 2017 spurred a wave of political violence, though all sides seem to have accepted the recent landslide victory of left-leaning Xiomara Castro. Chronic socio-economic ills, coupled with poor governance and rampant corruption, are the main drivers of northward migration, which has its own perils for those who venture the journey. Crisis Group studies the roots of the country’s persistent problems and pushes for policy solutions to break the cycle of forced departure and deportation.

CrisisWatch Honduras

Unchanged Situation

Congress elected new Supreme Court magistrates, and govt extended state of emergency until April.

Lawmakers elected new Supreme Court judges. After four failed attempts, Congress 16 Feb elected 15 magistrates who will comprise Supreme Court for next seven years. As in previous elections, lawmakers voted for judges politically aligned with their own party; ruling Libre party secured six seats, National Party five and Liberal Party four. With no party able to secure majority of justices, process marked step toward creation of checks and balances. UN and international mission sent to observe selection 17 Feb praised it as step forward compared with previous processes, but expressed concerns about imposition of political quotas. Honduras’ Saviour Party, which played crucial role in President Castro’s electoral victory, 16 Feb dismissed election as “partisan-driven” amid deepening divide with govt.

Govt extended state of emergency. Head of Police Gustavo Sánchez 7 Feb said state of emergency, first imposed in Dec 2022 to tackle extortion, had reduced average number of homicides per day from nine in 2022 to seven so far in 2023. Authorities 21 Feb confirmed its extension by 45 days and expansion to 48 other municipalities across country.

U.S. prosecutors revealed details in corruption case of former president. Following first anniversary of former President Hernández’s detention, U.S. prosecutors 10 Feb said Honduras’ powerful Rosenthal family had bribed him to facilitate their money-laundering and drug-trafficking activities.

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In The News

18 Dec 2017
We are worried about what might be the long-term consequences of the current turmoil [in Honduras], especially in terms of how drug-trafficking groups may expand activiti... Bloomberg

Sofía Martínez Fernández

Former Analyst, Northern Triangle
1 Dec 2017
Violence [in Honduras] is likely to escalate in the upcoming weeks since there is still no clear winner [of the elections] and the opposition its mobilizing its supporter... Bloomberg

Sofía Martínez Fernández

Former Analyst, Northern Triangle

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